WMC loses in semi-finals, but sweeps season’s final quad
The Wolfpack swept Saturday’s quad match to reach 18 wins on the season, setting a new West Morris Central High School wrestling record. The team finished 18-8.
“Reaching a new mark for wins was a goal for the coaching staff coming into the season,” Rossi reflected. “Not so much to claim we set the record, but more for the kids to embrace new success.”
“We had a lot of big matches this season against top notch opponents,” explained senior Adam Kratch. “Even when we lost it made us stronger as a team and gave us the experience we needed to reverse the score next time around.”
Kratch, who is 28-6, embodies that success ethos, and led the way this week with four wins. His rigorous training schedule inspired his younger teammates in the off season – and the work paid off. Last year, Kratch was 8-22.
After defeating Nutley 39-28 in the NJSIAA quarter-finals earlier in the week, WMC lost in the semi-finals to South Plainfield Friday. The Tigers, undefeated and ranked No. 1 in the state, defeated WMC 51-12.
The Wolfpack’s night was highlighted by Cory Fleming’s dramatic third period pin of Ray Jazikoff (24-6), along with wins by Kratch and Jesse Windt.
Tiger legend Anthony Ashnault handed Nick Matthews his second loss of the year, 14-4. Ranked No. 2 in the nation at 138, Ashnault appears destined to become NJ’s first four-time undefeated state champion. Only three of his bouts all year were more closely contested than his 10-point win over Matthews.
Seven of WMC’s eight losses this year came at the hands of NJ top-20 squads.
WMC topped a depleted Holy Cross squad 62-14 Saturday. Freshman Caleb Isemann gained his first varsity pin to join Aldo Cammalleri, John Schade and Fleming to contribute six points for the team. Dylan Luciano’s win by tech fall (over 15-5 Cam Wasson) and five forfeits rounded out Wolfpack scoring.
Next, WMC defeated a tough Middletown South team 37-21 with pins from Jesse Windt, Schade and Fleming. Mike Oros, David Migliaccio (by major) and Kevin Sears had their hands raised, along with Matthews, Cammalleri and Kratch to secure the Wolfpack win.
WMC triumphed 42-26 over the home team Franklin to complete the Saturday sweep. Cammalleri started with a 12-7 win to complete a personal victory sweep on the day and finish the season winning five of his last eight bouts.
Schade, Migliaccio and Matthews pinned their opponents. Isemann won by major, and Brandon Carcuffe by injury forfeit to complete the victory.
On the week, Fleming, Matthews and Migliaccio joined Kratch by contributing four wins. Schade, Carcuffe, Sears, Cammalleri and Windt added three, with Oros, Isemann and Scott DeBoey winning two.
Among NJ’s winningest wrestlers this season, Matthews (4th), Windt (12th), Carcuffe (15th), Kratch (20th), Fleming (25th), John Sickles (27th), and Miggliaccio (70th) all rank high. Carcuffe’s four tech falls lead the team, and tie him for 7th in NJ, while Kratch is 6th and Luciano 17th in their respective weight classes with two each.
Rossi is optimistic about the team’s future, despite the prospect of “losing a great group of quality seniors” – seven starters who are a combined 160-51 this year.
“Both WMC and Long Valley rec program wrestling are winning regularly, and winning is becoming an expectation of competitors in our programs. I am encouraged by the progress of the returning wrestlers and the wrestlers in our youth program and I anticipate they will build on the seniors’ success,“ said Rossi.
They can look to Kratch for inspiration:
“The most important part of my improvement has been keeping faith in what the coaches tell us. Looking at my record last season, I was motivated to work relentlessly to change that. The key to success that I found was looking for extra opportunities to get better. Things like never missing a lift, drilling with a coach at every practice, and staying after practice as much as possible. The truth is that little things win big matches.”
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